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View Full Version : WTA is killing Doubles


disposablehero
Feb 2nd, 2002, 12:02 AM
If they want anyone to take doubles seriously, they need to take steps to encourage top players to participate.

How many Doubles matches have the Williams sisters entered in the past two years? Not many, and its no surprise when this is the usual way it is handled:

Player A (Lets call her Martina Hingis) decides that she is weary from playing 13 matches at the Australian Open and does not enter Pan Pacific doubles.

Player B (Lets call her Monica Seles) rarely plays doubles, but decides to go for it at Pan Pacific.

Now we all know that players with byes generally do not play until Wednesday. Player A played her 2nd round match on Wednesday. Player B was put off til Thursday, and didn't have her first doubles match til then either.

You can say "OK, top half of the Draw goes Wednesday, that's how they do it." Fine. But if they continue to do it that way, doubles will continue to fade into the background.

If you want top players to play doubles, don't sabatoge their singles chances.

apoet29
Feb 2nd, 2002, 12:07 AM
Originally posted by disposablehero
If they want anyone to take doubles seriously, they need to take steps to encourage top players to participate.

How many Doubles matches have the Williams sisters entered in the past two years? Not many, and its no surprise when this is the usual way it is handled:

Player A (Lets call her Martina Hingis) decides that she is weary from playing 13 matches at the Australian Open and does not enter Pan Pacific doubles.

Player B (Lets call her Monica Seles) rarely plays doubles, but decides to go for it at Pan Pacific.

Now we all know that players with byes generally do not play until Wednesday. Player A played her 2nd round match on Wednesday. Player B was put off til Thursday, and didn't have her first doubles match til then either.

You can say "OK, top half of the Draw goes Wednesday, that's how they do it." Fine. But if they continue to do it that way, doubles will continue to fade into the background.

If you want top players to play doubles, don't sabatoge their singles chances.

Interesting, very interesting! And you are right of course! Then there are two questions to be asked. First, what should the WTA do to encourage players to forge strong partnerships and play steadily in doubles? Second, how should the scheduling be done for singles and doubles in a tournament?

irma
Feb 2nd, 2002, 12:13 AM
I doubt changing schedules would change anything in the players decisions, fact is topplayers don`t need doubles anymore because they earn more then enough in singles.

auntie janie
Feb 2nd, 2002, 12:36 AM
When I started following tennis, very few top players played doubles regularly. Certainly Stef and Monica did not make a practice of it. Nobody commented on it, either; it was not expected that they would play.

Lindsay and Martina Hingis were the ones to change things back to the Navratilova era (though I don't believe Evert was ever a big doubles star either), playing and winning doubles a LOT; both reached the #1 spot in both singles and doubles.

But as the singles competition has gotten so much tougher at the highest level, many top players are returning to the old status quo of the Stef-Monica era. It is just too hard, for the players who usually reach singles Finals, to play BOTH all the time. It is not so bad for the next level of players who usually only reach semis and quarterfinals, and I expect this group to dominate doubles from now on, along with doubles specialists. And when and if that next- level player (say a Henin-level player) improves her singles and gets to more singles finals, they too will probably drop out of doubles.

And it's no one's fault, and it's all okay! :D

JonBcn
Feb 2nd, 2002, 12:51 AM
Arantxa reached number one in singles and doubles simultaneously long before Hingis and Davenport.

I dont think its necessarily the WTA thats killing doubles, itīs just that it has a very limited appeal. Television isnt interested, and therefore it is of secondary importance when scheduling. Add to that the prize money is miniscule compared to singles, and there isnīt much incentive for those who arent already committed to the doubles game to take it up.

Justin
Feb 2nd, 2002, 12:56 AM
Monica played her first round dubs match on Monday (or was it Tues??) Either way, if was before Tina's first singles match.

Bright Red
Feb 2nd, 2002, 01:38 AM
Originally posted by irma

I doubt changing schedules would change anything in the players decisions, fact is topplayers don`t need doubles anymore because they earn more then enough in singles.

Agreed. The top singles players get not only enough money, but also recognition and fans if they focus on being the best they can be at singles. I believe most people view tennis primarily as an individual sport, and I, for one, only watch doubles if my faves are playing--but even then it's not nearly as exciting if they win or lose.

The fear of doubles dying off doesn't seem reasonable. Some players will never be great singles players, and doubles will forever be an opportunity, if not the only way, for them to participate. So doubles won't ever go away.

Any attempt to try to force the good singles players to behave in a manner conducive to raising interest in doubles will be like trying to herd cats. It won't happen soon, if ever. Basically, to get the good singles players to play doubles will require creating huge incentives for winning doubles titles. The WTA has its handful already trying to market some of the singles tournaments that are out there already. It won't happen soon.

Jessica02
Feb 2nd, 2002, 01:49 AM
WTA are turning into the ATP.

Doubles is not really serious competition its just something the top players take lightheartedly.

I really dont think Hingis lost in Aus because she played doubles. You dont get to one point away from victory in the singles if doubles has taken everything out of you.

The ressurgence of the 'spice girls' however is certainly gonna bring media attention onto the doubles court, but the truth is the top players just dont feel the need to play.

disposablehero
Feb 2nd, 2002, 05:21 AM
Jessica02, I agree with you about Martina and the Australian Open. It's a little different pace at Slams, where you only play a singles match every 2 days or so.

For those of you who say improved scheduling won't motivate top players because they already get enough money from singles, explain this to me:

Why did Monica enter doubles this week? She doesn't need the money, and it could certainly hurt her singles chances. If they had won another doubles match, it would have been an absolute disaster for her, fatigue-wise.

Why do the Williams sisters occasionally enter doubles in the Slams, win a few rounds, then withdraw to keep themselves fresh for singles? Do you think they are sufficiently strapped for cash that they need to split a doubles QF purse to stay solvent?

Top players either play doubles for the money or play it because they are competitors who like to win in as many different disciplines as possible. Current scheduling discourages that.

OK, I may have been mistaken. Monica's doubles match on Thursday might have been 2nd round. Still, if she had gone to both Finals she would have been playing 3 doubles and 4 singles matches in 4 days. If this was an outdoor tournament with the possibility of matches being postponed a day for rain, it would be lunacy.

All it would take is a directive that when singles matches on the same round are played on 2 different days, players entered in doubles should be prioritized to the 1st day, with seeded singles players prioritized ahead of non-seeded. Until then the best singles players will see doubles as a risky diversion, which even Martina, crazy about doubles, did last year.

Martian Martin
Feb 2nd, 2002, 05:24 AM
Completely agree with what you say Jessica, especially the parts about the claim by certain people that Martina lost the AO final because of the doubles and also the fact that the Spice Girls are going to cause so much more interest in doubles.

Aci79
Feb 2nd, 2002, 09:08 AM
Ummm.... interesting points..

Scheduling tennis matches is a tough thing to do, especially in 2 weeks tournaments such as grand slams and Tier I events.
They have to consider other things like rain delay, etc.

I guess as top players, they have to think about all that.

Besides the fact that they have to spend more time on court, waiting around in the locker room isn't a fun thing.. whether it would be for a rain delay or an unexpected long matches.
They have to make more adjustments if they play both singles and doubles.

At one point, they might have to decide which is more important.
Of course, the answer would be the singles event.

Doubles event has always been lower than singles, both in prestige and prize money. The perception of doubles is that players do not have to work as hard as in singles since they have less area to cover.

I wonder what is going to happen if WTA cuts down some tournaments and replaces them with doubles-only tournaments.
But of course, they have to offer enough attention and prize money to attract more top players.
If they enjoy playing doubles, than it should not be a problem. They will have plenty of time in their hands to play doubles matches without having to worry about their singles matches.

The ATP has such tournament, but unfortunately top players haven't been participating.

It is also have something to do with us, the fans. How much do we like doubles matches?

Does the WTA or ATP have to put together exciting doubles partners match ups?

It is so unfortunate that Venus and Serena do not want to play with other players in women's doubles. Because, they will certainly contribute a great deal of excitement by bringing two different doubles teams instead of intimidating other teams by being on the same side of the court.

Right now, WTA is still lucky to have pairs like Hingis/Kournikova, which has a big impact in women's doubles.

Once again big names..

I think everything comes down to the fans.

Most of us do not like doubles unless big names are playing. That is the main reason why the WTA and ATP are struggling to keep the doubles event alive.

Now, instead of asking what the WTA and ATP can do, we should ask ourselves what can we do as the fans/costumers?

Williams Rulez
Feb 2nd, 2002, 02:11 PM
I agree with you DH.... the way they schedule things, you will hurt your singles chances. That's why many top players don't play doubles anymore.

ajayares
Feb 2nd, 2002, 06:16 PM
The facts are that If the top players enter doubles they know that if they play well in both the singles and doubles (taking martina as an example) they will be expected to play 2 matches on atleast 2 days, possiblity 3 depending on whether they can get to play there QF on a Thrusday (doubles that is)

The Problem is that, it becomes too much for the players, therefore they are unwilling to enter the event on a consistent basis..

GrandSlam are different as there is a day off between singles matches (providing rain does not occur) as mentioned above..

So really outside the GrandSlams where most of them play, what incentives are there??? Very little.. Sadly that's how it is..

Jakeev
Feb 2nd, 2002, 11:53 PM
Yeah I totally disagree that scheduling has anything to do with why top players don't play doubles.

Today's game is simply a tougher show than it was 15 years ago. There are more singles tournaments played today then at that time.

Then again, Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver played in as many singles tournaments as in doubles and it never seemed to be a problem with them.......

TheBoiledEgg
Feb 2nd, 2002, 11:55 PM
in the 80's there was less travelling than there is now

most of the Womens Tour was based in the US.

disposablehero
Feb 3rd, 2002, 05:16 AM
Egg has an interesting and valid point. Still, most tournaments now are geographically fairly close to the previous weeks tournament. These 2 weeks of the year, where players move from Australia to Japan to Europe/Middle East are by far the most extreme.

I really don't understand the opposition to my viewpoint here. People say my idea won't work because playing singles and doubles in the same tournament is too strenuous. Well, duh! I outlined a way to make it less strenuous. Making it physically more practical to play doubles won't drive people away from it. Here's a crazy thought: It might actually attract people to it.

The tour reduced the minimum tournaments to give players more rest.

The tour reduced the length of the season to give players more rest.

The tour has given byes to top players for untold years. Why? To give them more rest.




What's wrong with more sensible scheduling of singles and doubles matches to give players more rest?

angele87
Feb 3rd, 2002, 06:17 AM
I don't think it's the scheduling that's stopping the top single players from playing doubles I just think the top players don't really care too much for doubles. The prize money is really small compared to singles for one thing and another thing is not the time it actually takes to play but to practice. To play doubles you have to take the time to actually prepare to play doubles and I think most top players just rather focus on singles. Doubles just plain and simple isn't as interesting as singles and i agree with whoever said that they only watch when their fave players are watching. And doubles won't go away because you've got players like Lisa and Renee who are really only a force in doubles!

disposablehero
Feb 3rd, 2002, 06:30 AM
angele87, doubles is outstanding match practice for singles and is especially good for working on volleys. Top players do like it, because they have ALL, almost without exception, played it when they can.